On the day after a very imperfect officiating decision cost a journeyman major-league baseball pitcher a perfect game, the cries for Bud Selig to step in and reverse the blown call were everywhere.
St. Louis Cardinals Manager Tony La Russa said the clearly mistaken safe call at first base by umpire Jim Joyce that denied Detroit's Armando Galarraga baseball perfection (27 batters faced, 27 retired) should be overturned. Writing on ESPN.com, columnist Ian O'Connor agreed.
As everyone in America has now seen a gazillion times, television replays clearly show that Cleveland's Jason Donald was beaten to first base by both the ball and Galarraga after his grounder was fielded by Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera.
Donald was out, and it wasn't close.
Except Joyce, in perfect position to make the call, blew it.
Now, the emotional arguments for reversing the call are overwhelming.
Galarraga clearly earned a perfect game. For a 28-year-old who entered Wednesday night's game with a 20-18 career record, this was almost certainly his one chance at baseball immortality.
To have it taken away by a horrible call was cruel (although more people will remember it as a result of the way it went down than would have without the controversy).
Reversing the call would both right a wrong and free Joyce — a 22-year veteran umpire who, before Wednesday, had a stellar reputation — from a lifetime of torment.
If you heard the anguish in his voice while discussing the ill-fated safe call at first base or saw the tears streaming down Joyce's face before Thursday's game, you now know one thing for sure: No one really does feel worse than the sports official who blows the big call.
Those pleading for the call to be changed also have this on their side. After Galarraga retired the 28th Cleveland batter he faced, Trevor Crowe, Detroit won 3-0.
If Selig, the Major League Baseball Commissioner, were to reverse the call that allowed Donald to reach first base, Detroit would win 3-0.
Yet, as emotionally satisfying as it would be, Selig should NOT overturn what happened in the game.
Once you open that can of worms — overturning officials' judgment calls after a game is in the books — you've created a precedent filled with the potential for all kinds of mischief.
Litigating over disputed outcomes of sporting events would become the greatest boon to trial lawyers since asbestos.
Under such a scenario, the good folks in St. Louis might still be suing over the infamous blown call at first base by umpire Don Denkinger in Game 6 of the 1985 World Series that helped sink the Cardinals against the Royals.
Kentucky Wildcats basketball backers would no doubt have their own law firm on retainer just to fight "injustices" against the Cats.
That critical late charging call against UK's Kelenna Azubuike that proved a vital turning point in Alabama-Birmingham's one-point upset of the top-seeded Cats in the 2004 NCAA Tournament?
The attorneys of Noe Cheatham, Biggbleu & Wynne would still be in the courts on that one.
To stay legitimate, sports have two bedrock principles that must be immutable: 1.) The competition must be authentic; 2.) Once the game is over, it has to be final.
Rather than an ex post facto appeal of final outcomes, what every sports sanctioning body owes its participants and its fans is doing everything conceivable to get calls right during the games.
Instead of pleading with Selig to overturn Joyce's imperfect call, baseball's stakeholders should use the current uproar to insist on expanded use of instant replay.
Presently, baseball uses replay only to review disputed home runs. It needs to expand that to allow review of pretty much all calls other than balls and strikes.
To those who say it would slow down the pace of play too much, there is a solution. Give each manager, say, three challenges a game but compensate for the potential time lost to review by changing baseball rules and custom to ban anyone from ever leaving the dugout to argue calls on the field.
If Major League Baseball would have had such a replay system in place Wednesday night, Armando Galarraga would almost certainly now be the 21st pitcher in big-league history to throw a perfect game.
Jim Joyce would not be facing a life as "the guy who ruined the perfect game."
And we wouldn't have all this agitation in favor of a bad idea: Setting the precedent of altering the results from a ball game once it is over.